- / Procedures
- / Children living away from home
- / Looked After Children and Leaving Care
- / Permanency planning
- / Arrangements for LAC to live permanently outside of Guernsey
Arrangements for LAC to live permanently outside of Guernsey
If the child is subject to a Community Parenting Order
Any long term move outside of Guernsey has to be agreed by the Court. Children may travel outside of the Guernsey for up to 28 days without permission of the Court, but even a day over requires agreement.
In order to agree, the Court need to be satisfied that:
- the move is in the child's best interests
- suitable arrangements are in place in the country they are moving to
- the child is in agreement to move (where they are able to give informed consent)
- everyone who has parental responsibility has given consent.
The need for consent of any person (or groups of people) with parental responsibility can be dispensed with by the Court if they cannot be found, are incapable of consenting or are with-holding consent unreasonably. Such decisions can be appealed (which would delay the decision taking effect until the appeal is heard).
If the child is looked after under s20
Consent would have to be sought from everyone with parental responsibility. If this was given then the department could assist with the move.
The planning process
A decision about whether a child living outside of Guernsey should be made at a child's looked after review, following which a planning meeting chaired by a Service Manager should be held.
In making a final decision in conjunction with the Manager of the service, the following must be considered:
- why is this the best plan for the child?
- what are the conditions where the child will be going (including political stability, etc.)?
- are the carers and their support network able to meet the child's needs, and what is their motivation for wanting the child to be in their care? Needs which must be considered include education, health, racial, cultural, language needs.
- if the stay in another country is temporary then what is the likelihood of the child returning to the UK?
- What are the views of the child and those with parental responsibility (PR) for them? Is there any opposition to the plan?
- What are the arrangements for contact with those significant to the child?
- How will the placement be supported?
Where it is agreed that the child should live outside of Guernsey then the carers should be encouraged to apply for a Residence Order (which discharges the Care Order). If a person with PR disagrees with this plan then the Court can be asked to dispense with their consent.
If the plan is for a child to move permanently away or have an extended stay outside of Guernsey (more than 28 days), the department will be required to produce a report for the subsequent Court proceedings.
Reports for Court where child is moving outside of Guernsey - to include:
- Factual information about the child and the current placement
- Brief social history of the child and family including the reasons why the child is in the local authority's care
- Details of the Care Plan and the reasons why it is believed that it will be in the child's best interests to live outside England and Wales
- Information about the people with whom it is proposed that the child will live, their circumstances and support systems. This must include an assessment of their suitability to care for the child, meet her/his needs, safeguard her/his welfare and their motivation in wanting to take over the child's care. Reports about the child's proposed carers and domicile should be obtained from Children and Families Across Borders (formally International Social Services of the United Kingdom), if a member of Children's Social Care staff is unable to make a personal assessment of the situation
- Information about the country in which the child will be living and any major changes to the child's lifestyle which will result from the move. Potential risks for the child should be noted, e.g. civil war, political instability
- Details of how the child's other identified needs will be met outside England and Wales, including arrangements for contact with parents, those with parental responsibility and other significant people in the child's life
- The child's views
- The views of the parents and all those with parental responsibility. Where any of these views are in opposition to the proposal, reasons must be given as to why it is believed that consent is being withheld unreasonably
- Arrangements for returning the child to Guernsey should it prove impossible for the child's needs to be met in the country where s/he is to live.
- Child protection
- Youth Offending
- Children with Disabilities